What is Global Studies?

Global Studies is a new field that has arisen due to the difficulties of understanding many of the world’s pressing issues within the confines of traditional academic disciplines. Primarily, it aims for an integrated, multidisciplinary and critical understanding of social, political, economic and cultural phenomena in the world at large. Below are a few definitions of global studies from universities with global studies programs:

Global Studies … recognizes that many issues and trends relevant to our present and future go beyond analyses focused on the nation-state. Whether one wants to understand the jurisdiction of the WTO, or the implications of the spread of HIV-AIDS, or how the Internet has transformed social and commercial networks, it is necessary to transcend an international framework and adopt a global perspective.
– University of Wisconsin

The field of “global studies” is an exciting and quickly expanding one. While its aims are vast – furthering interdisciplinary and cross-cultural learning and research on global or trans-regional issues – it has very concrete and pressing concerns to contend with, for which such a perspective is vital. Concerns include the processes and effects of globalization for sustainable development, armed conflict, and public health, to name but a few. Concerns also include the general dearth of interdisciplinary, cross-cultural and comparative research for understanding the challenges and possibilities of an interdependent global society. And significantly, concerns include the resulting lack of global awareness generally that is so essential for bridging cultural, geographic, political and linguistic boundaries.
– University of Pittsburgh

Global Studies is an interdisciplinary approach to understand essentially “how the world works” and to make it better. By analyzing global phenomena from economic, social, historical, physical, environmental, cultural, biological, political, and other perspectives, Global Studies attempts to delineate and frame connections and commonalities between these apparently different disciplinary approaches to arrive at an understanding of the interrelationships between the world’s peoples – where we have been, where we are, and where our world is headed.
– South Dakota State University

Global Studies empowers us to see beyond our experiences, to understand the holistic nature of human interconnections. It utilizes a wide range of intellectual disciplines to broaden our understanding of our world and our place in it. These may include history, political science, science and medicine, philosophy and religious studies, and geography and environmental sciences as well as economics. It seeks to illuminate our understanding of such transnational and global phenomenon as environmental degradation, epidemic disease, mass migration, human rights issues, peace, conflict, global trade and economic linkages, and even spirituality. At its heart, Global Studies is about you as an individual and your global citizenship; it is about your identity within, the experience of, and impact on the world you live in. As a discipline, Global Studies prepares you to be better able to shape and improve your world.
University of West Georgia